More free at-home Covid tests available next week
SStarting next week, US households will be able to order another round of free rapid Covid-19 tests from COVIDTests.gov. The opening of additional free tests to Americans comes as the White House reports less than 300 million of the 500 million tests have been ordered.
The White House says the initiative aims to protect people from serious illnesses and is part of a multi-pronged strategy that includes adding federal testing, free N95 masks and pop-up vaccination sites, while reimbursing Americans for up to eight home tests. per month via their insurance.
How to order free Covid-19 rapid home tests
To visit COVIDTests.gov to order your test kits. No credit card is required to order. Clicking on the button to order your tests will take you to a USPS page that will ask for your name and the address of where you would like the tests sent.
Starting next week, if you ordered four tests in the first round, you can order four more next week. If you have not ordered any tests, you will be able to process two orders for a valid residential address.
If a member of the same household tries to order more tests on their behalf after the household has already reached the limit, the request will be denied.
Early reports pointed to difficulties placing orders, especially for tenants living in large apartment buildings. According to Berkeleyside, a nonprofit news organization in Berkeley, Calif., some people living in multi-unit buildings or duplexes have been blocked from ordering tests after other residents of other units placed orders. . People living in duplexes have also encountered problems.
According to the official test order site, these issues are caused by certain addresses not being recognized as multi-family by USPS. The site advises people with problems to file a help request online or call the USPS Helpline at 1-800-ASK-USPS (1-800-275-8777).
According to the website, tests typically ship within 7-12 days of ordering. When ordering, it is possible to provide an email address to receive email notifications with shipping updates.
Households without internet access can order their tests by calling 1-800-232-0233. The line is open from 8:00 a.m. to midnight EST daily and offers support to callers in more than 150 languages.
The CDC recommends that Americans use home testing if they start showing symptoms or get tested at least five days after coming into contact with someone who has contracted the virus. It is also recommended that people congregating indoors with other people at risk of severe illness or unvaccinated people test themselves beforehand.
The wait time for shipping and delivery of tests means that households should not wait until they show symptoms to request their free tests; they should order them as soon as possible to have them on hand.
Home kits offer convenience and the ability to mitigate community spread by allowing testing in your own home, but until this federal government decision, they weren’t cheap and hard to find.
If you buy Covid tests from a local store, home test kits are eligible medical expenses that can be paid for or reimbursed under Health Savings Accounts (HSAs), flexible spending arrangements for health (Health FSA), Health Reimbursement Arrangements (HRA) and Archer Medical Savings Accounts (Archer MSA). And since January 15, insurers have been required to reimburse consumers for the costs of up to eight at-home Covid tests per individual per month.
But research shows that people who would benefit most from HSAs to help cover high initial medical costs, including low-income black and Hispanic Americans, are significantly less likely than their high-income, white counterparts to have access. to these vehicles. In theory, free testing could help ease that burden for low-income Americans of color.
Researchers from the Georgetown University Health Policy Institute also criticize the insurance reimbursement mandate.
“Funding these tests through a cumbersome reimbursement process is the most inefficient, inequitable, and costly approach the United States could take,” reads a blog post from the Center on Health Insurance Reforms of the United States. ‘institute. The researchers point out that not all families have the financial means to cover the initial costs and wait for their reimbursements.
There are currently 20,000 federal testing sites in the United States, according to the White House. The Defense Production Act is still in effect, allowing the country to quickly produce as many tests as possible.
According to the CDC, the best way to protect yourself and others from Covid-19 is to get vaccinated. Visit Vaccines.gov to find a vaccination center near you.
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